Expat Extra – Jeane Brennan and Jesse Peeler

jeane and jesse cover

Hello friends! I’m excited to bring you another great Expat Extra today, this time featuring Jeane and Jesse who now live in Sierpe, Costa Rica. I met this cute couple when they lived in Grecia, and although they moved before I could get to know them better, I really liked what I saw in them.

Jeane is one of those people who can talk to anyone, loves everyone, and is just the sweetest person you’ll ever find. She finds joy in, seriously – everything.  I have never seen her without a smile on her face.  And Jesse is just a great guy, always has a smile going as well, and is a vivacious (and hilarious) story teller.

Sierpe is in the Southern Pacific region. It is a very small town with a very large and intricate river called the Sierpe River. Sierpe is known as the gateway to the Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park, as the Sierpe River is one of the main ways people can get to Drake Bay (via taxi boat). This area is home to at least half of all the species of wildlife living in Costa Rica and is biologically diverse with both natural beauty and wildlife (think: scarlet macaws, sloths, monkeys!).


Sierpe River - view from above

Sierpe River – view from above

So, what is life like for Jeane and Jesse on the river?  

They love living in Sierpe.  Their home is actually surrounded by the Sierpe River on three sides. Their house is small, but new and rather modern.  And the kicker?  It’s only $250/month! 

Jesse outside their house.

There river is right there, outside their windows!

Inside their house – you can see how close the river is.

To go to MiraMar, which is on the other side of the river, you have to take a ferry.  MiraMar is hilly, rural and absolutely beautiful.  There are two ferry’s to get across the river, here is one of them:

One of the two ferry's.

And here is the other ferry.  Jeane takes this smaller ferry twice a week at 5:15 in the morning to walk the hills with a friend of hers.

This is the other ferry! A friend and I use this ferry twice a week at 5:15 am, we walk the hills on the other side of the river for an hour. That area is called MiraMar, absolutely rural and beautiful.

These children are from MiraMar and are taking the ferry to go to school (I can’t believe how many people this little boat holds!).

6going to school

Jesse does most of the cooking, with Jeane as his assistant. She has never enjoyed dinner as much as she does now, noting that he is a great cook and she’s always excited for his meals. 


This picture was taken from their patio, of cattle being herded across the river:

Herding cattle across the river (picture taken from our patio)

Pigs, cows, and horses need to learn to swim or enjoy a boat ride. This is how the animals travel to and from their farm (finca) to town.  Are you starting to get the idea that everyone and everything crosses the river by ferry?

Pigs, cows, and horses need to learn to swim or enjoy a boat ride. This is how the animals travel to and from their farm (finca) to town.

These granite spheres have become a historic archeological landmark of this area. Nothing has been found to uncover the mystery of how and why these stones were created. There is a great museum near Sierpe – The Museum of the Stone Spheres (click HERE for a blog post I did when we visited Sierpe last year).

8Jesse with stone sphere

So, let’s get a few more details.  Here is the history of Jeane & Jesse:

Jeane and Jesse were married September 5, 2011 and purchased a house in Cajon de Grecia September 15, 2011 and it has been a wild ride of adventure and new experiences ever since.

Jeane was born and raised in San Diego, California and truly lived the southern California lifestyle of spending the summers at the beach, Easter Vacation in the desert and being immersed in California history by her parents and grandparents by way of exploring vacated gold mines and gold mining towns in the mountains, visiting California missions, and traveling the back roads of the desert and southern San Diego mountain towns. After studies at San Diego State Jeane traveled through Europe, lived in North Lake Tahoe, and then worked for a publishing company in San Francisco. The cold weather in San Francisco prompted Jeane to trade her typewriter in for a bicycle and with survival instinct in hand, biked across the country towards warm water and palm trees. She lived in Marco Island Florida (southwest Florida) for 30 years, realizing her passion in the newspaper business and proudly and lovingly raised 3 sons. She has 9 grandchildren.

Jesse’s family settled Tennessee 300 years ago. He was born in the home of his grandparents above his grandfather’s pharmacy in Centerville, Tenn. He moved to Miami when he was a young boy when Miami was more like a small town. He remembers riding his bike for miles and miles, freely and without fear and fishing all along the Miami seawall. Even though Jesse loves the game of golf and is very athletic, his love in high school at West Palm Beach was drama and he starred in all the major high school productions in his senior year. Moving back to Nashville, Jesse was prominent in the real estate and banking world during the decades of the 70’s and 80’s. At 50 years old, he decided that a change of life was necessary, one with less stress and more fun. He moved to southwest Florida, Goodland, and began what evolved into a successful backwater charter fishing business for 20 years. Jesse has one daughter and two grandchildren.

Jeane and Jesse’s home in Cajon de Grecia was absolutely perfect, with a gorgeous vista of central valley and the mountains beyond. They embraced their neighbors and their neighbors embraced them. They met new and interesting friends. However, they realized after three years that they missed being near the water and fishing.

View from home in Cajon de Grecia

View from home in Cajon de Grecia

Both Jeane and Jesse sold their businesses and homes and are officially retired, except for the occasional charter fishing trip down the Sierpe River, where they now live, or fishing for mahi mahi, wahoo, or tuna off shore onto Drake Bay. Jeane writes every other month for the glossy magazine Ballena Tales about life in Sierpe.


After much research, they found the tiny remote and rural town of Sierpe, a town as different to Grecia as night is to day. They have lived in Sierpe for one year and their home is surrounded by the river on three sides.

They have a boat and love the abundant wild life…..monkeys, toucans, macaws, iguanas all in the backyard.

our boat NO MAS

Their boat is named “NO MAS”…. no more work, no more stress, no more angst.

The river and mangrove forest is gorgeous. The beaches along the southern coast are isolated and absolutely beautiful. There are just a handful of expats living full time in Sierpe so speaking Spanish daily is necessary and appreciated. The town is small and it only takes about 45 minutes, including talking and visiting, to walk the whole town. Living in Sierpe along the beautiful southern coast is an amazing new experience. Jeane, however, is thankful that she had the opportunity to live in the Grecia area, to know a part of Costa Rica so very different than where they are now.

9my yoga class

View from Jeane’s yoga class, this is in Ojachal, 45 minutes away, and is more of an expat community.

What’s it like living in a foreign country?

To truly relax and enjoy this beautiful country and generous people, both Jeane and Jesse feel that it is necessary to forget how things are done in the U.S. They feel it is necessary to become open minded and adapt to totally new ways of doing things; to embrace the popular Costa Rican word, ”tranquilidad”. They feel that this experience, at this age of their life, 69 ad 75, is totally rejuvenating, fun and exciting. Yes, there have been several times where frustration has set in, especially dealing with the government when Jesse misplaced and had to renew his cedula and driver’s license. However, they tried to think of it as a learning experience and attempted to make the best of the 4 long month issue.

Oxen cart

Jesse’s advice is to be aware that in Costa Rica, ‘mañana’ does not mean ‘tomorrow’; it means, ‘not today’. He also feels that life becomes so much easier if one deals with the differences in a relaxed and friendly manner….to do what you can to make the other smile, laugh, feel good about themselves. To settle into the life of a foreign country Jeane and Jesse feel that it is important to learn the language, new culture and new ways of doing things; not fight it, not get mad, not become frustrated. To travel, to get lost and to just check out what is around the next bend is a great way to spend and enjoy the day(s).

Jeane and Jesse’s motto: “This life is an adventure, after all. Embrace the day. Pura Vida!”

jeane cover

You can find Jeane & Jesse at their new website they are developing called Sierpe Costa Rica, and also on FaceBook at J&J Fishing Costa Rica.  And as mentioned earlier, Jeane’s articles can be found online at Ballena Tales.

Jeane & Jesse – thank you so much for joining me this week on my Expat Extra!
 Life indeed is an adventure. Pura Vida!  


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23 Responses to Expat Extra – Jeane Brennan and Jesse Peeler

  1. This is yet another example of Jen’s great writing skills. She really does a great job of describing Jeane and Jesse. These are wonderful people who have truly learned to enjoy life’s experiences.

    Jesse and Jeane we miss you.

    Jen thanks for this reat article.

  2. Jessie & Jeanne are 2 of the finest people I have met in Grecia. We are looking forward to visiting them & going fishing. Great article. Much love & many blessings.

  3. Jen,you didn’t explain how Jessie and Jeanne met or got together, and how they decided to come to Costa Rica of all the places they could choose.

    • Hi Mary, Jen wrote a great story about Jesse and me. Actually, Jen and Greg are excellent examples of living a Pura Vida life in Costa Rica!!!!
      Jesse and my paths began to cross about 15 years ago. I, however, was too nervous to speak to him for those first few years because he was so cute and playful. I lived on Marco Island and he lived on a small one square mile adjoining island, a fishing village called Goodland, which is where his charter fishing business was located. I wrote for a newspaper and one of my assignments was a weekly column about Goodland. Also, I would walk with a friend on all 13 streets of Goodland early morning and Jesse would be heading to his boat and eventually we became acquaintances. I then asked Jesse if he would like to write a fishing column for the newspaper and he said ‘Yes’. Later, he told me’yes’ only to get to know me better!!! (He stopped writing for the paper once we started going out!) When he first asked me out I told him I wasn’t a “passing in the night type of girl” and he laughingly said, “Well, what about 5 nights?” Well, my eyes opened widely and I was stunned. Anyway, we did go out and our first date was, without giving it thought, February 14th, Valentine’s Day. We were married a year and a half later and I have been amazed and also thankful with our relationship and life ever since. Thank you, Mary for wondering about Jesse and me. I wish you all the very best in all of your life.

      • ^^ I had heard a portion of this story before, but not the whole thing. LOVE IT. Jeane and Jesse – you guys are just so perfect together. Thanks for sharing this, Jeane! 🙂

  4. Wow-great friends that have moved on to such a fabulous new adventure! I loved finding all about your new life and hope to be able to visit one day!

  5. Jen, I loved reading about Jessie & Jeanne! I was closely watching their house for sale in Grecia and thought it would be perfect for me. I have been to Sierpe and the river is enchanting. I am glad they are happy and peaceful. Willow

    P.S. Missing all of you in Grecia andI I am mapping my return! So nice to meet both of you when I was there. Love all your books! They keep me energized.

    • Hello Willow! Good to hear from you. Thanks for reading our books. Would you mind leaving me a review on amazon? I would be ever so thankful. 🙂 Peace!

  6. Jen, this is a great article. Loved learning about this wonderful couple. Sierpe is very close to our Balsar farm, so we are familiar with the town and area.

  7. I enjoyed reading about Jeanne and Jesse, met them several times here in Grecia area at friends’ houses. Friendly, adventurous people. Loved talking with them about our southern Florida stomping grounds. Was happy to see pictures of them enjoying their new adventure in southern Costa Rica. Would love to visit them. Wonderful story. Feel happy for them.

  8. I loved reading your article and seeing the photos of one of the best friends I’ve ever had — Jeane, whom I know as Jeanieeee! We met at work in Miami when my son was not yet a year old. Now, he will be 42 next month! Much time has passed, and we have always remained close, through all of life’s hills and valleys.

    I miss the fact that Jeane is no longer in Florida, but I wish nothing but pure joy for my great friend, so I am very happy for her — that she has found a great partner in Jesse and a great, adventurous life in Costa Rica.

  9. Glad to see Jay is enjoying life! I had the privelage of working with him many years ago in Franklin, Tn. I sure miss his stories and sage advice. Best of life to you both! Mark Watkins

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